Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced it will enforce a Consent
Order and Agreement (COA) with Sunoco Pipeline L.P. (Sunoco) for
violations associated with its Mariner East 2 project in West Whiteland
and Uwchlan townships, Chester County.
In a related matter, the Environmental Hearing Board halted horizontal
directional drilling (HDD) activities, effective immediately, until a
supersedeas hearing, scheduled for August 7.
“The corrective actions outlined in the COA are steps DEP is taking to
hold Sunoco accountable and protect local residents,” said DEP Secretary
Patrick McDonnell. “DEP is conducting its own independent investigation
of this pollution event and reserves the right to assess further
enforcement, as appropriate.”
The COA also requires Sunoco to keep drilling activities on hold until
DEP is confident Sunoco has met the requirements of the consent order in
this area and requires they identify all homeowners with private water
supplies within 150 feet of the impacted area and provide a list to DEP.
As a result of Sunoco’s HDD activities near Shoen Road in West Whiteland
Township, 14 homeowners experienced adverse impacts to their private
water supplies, which are drawn from groundwater.
Pennsylvania law does not regulate private drinking water wells or
require private well owners to register their wells. The COA also
provides for Sunoco’s response to any additional homeowners whose wells
are adversely impacted by the Shoen Road Drill Area.
“DEP continues to be diligent in our oversight of this project,” said
McDonnell. “To impact a person’s private drinking water is inexcusable,
and we intend to hold this operator accountable to the fullest extent.”
In addition to the required identification of area wells, Sunoco must
adhere to 7 other Corrective Actions as outlined in the COA, including:
• Must have written authorization to resume HDD in the impacted area
from DEP, which will not be granted until the department is confident
Sunoco is meeting the ordered corrective actions;
• Notification to the townships and private well owners within 150
feet of the drilling area at least 24 hours prior to resuming any HDD
• Must submit a Water Supply Restoration Plan within 10 days that
provides for an alternate source of potable water, which must be
approved by DEP;
• Must conduct a hydrogeological investigation of the identified
aquifer(s) to determine what caused the impacts to the private wells.
The permits associated with Mariner East 2 included special conditions
related to private drinking water wells that go beyond existing state
law requirements. The permits are among the most stringent DEP has ever
issued for this type of construction activity related to protection of
private drinking water wells.
A detailed list of incidents related to construction of the Mariner East
2 pipeline is available on DEP’s website and will be updated weekly: http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/ProgramIntegration/Pennsylvania-Pipeline-Portal/Pages/Mariner-East-II.aspx.
Julie Lalo, 717-787-1323